the lady got a shirt once that said "unlearn." on it, white on white.
in order to go outside on a sunny day and put the work into riding a bike that looks more like it's meant to fall over than glide in beautiful physics over a hard black surface, the little girl had to unlearn. bikes aren't supposed to stand up. put one on both its wheels and walk away and it'll fall over. put one on one of its wheels, walk away, and it'll fall over. sure, it's possible for it to stand there indefinitely, by simple kinematics of perfect balance and some coefficients of friction. but, in all likelihood, it'll just fall over.
this is something that must be unlearned.
all this child's existence, she has been more than precious, and beyond precocious. we worried about her upon conception, and didn't stop for the next year. we hoped for her. we wondered about her. we wondered about our abilities to deal with whatever she would be, and we hoped for adequacy. we watched. we waited. she arrived, minuscule and perfect, and hasn't stopped growing or moving since. it is my life's work to protect her and carry her through.
this, too, must be unlearned.
in a park, on a sunday, down a ramp from a closed-for-the-season men's washroom, into an intersection of paths and sunlight and the unpredictable vectors of fellow free spirits, a little girl pedaled away on a tiny purple bike, and her dada's hand let go.
she was ready, probably. she was more ready than her dada, who got all choked up and tried to cheer but couldn't and kind of let out a strangled encouragement that sounded offensive and failed to celebrate the greatest and most fearful moment with anguish and joy. she walks. she runs. she goes to the toilet. she says crazy things and wears crazy clothes. and now she can leave me on humanity's greatest form of transportation.
i love her, the beast, unleashed.